Ditzy socialite with a heart of gold, Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard) finds "forgotten man" Godfrey Smith (William Powell) in a scavenger hunt. Eventually Godfrey is taken in as the family butler for the Bullocks and screwball antics and romance ensue.
July 8, 2017 Subject:
44 Reviews and counting
I was amazed that is film has 44 reviews! Most others at the Internet Archive have a couple or five...
I, too, enjoy this film. Each time I watch it I pick up a new joke cleverly woven into the lines.
My Man Godfrey was the first movie to have actors nominated for each of the four Acting Awards but not one won. Mischa Auer was nominated for an Academy Award for his delightful performance as the "protege" of Mrs. Bullock. Alas he lost out to Walter Brennan whose performance in the very forgettable film, Come and Get It!, was better appreciated in 1936 than it is today.
Gail Patrick (Jackson) went on to produce the Perry Mason series on TV for about 9 years. The role of Cornelia Bullock in this film is my favorite film performance by her. There is always an aloof smile in her voice...
Eugene Pallette, a horrid man in real life whose bigotry eventually ended his film career, was much beloved for his on-screen character -- essentially the same one in all of his later films. He hits the right comedic notes as Mr. Bullock here.
Get the popcorn ready. Sit back and enjoy a very funny film.
March 22, 2017 Subject:
One of my favorites!
November 17, 2016 Subject:
William Powell is one of the greatest actors of the 1930's! He & Cary Grant are the absolute "Kings" of subtle comedy! I rate this up there with Yankee Doodle Dandy & The Wizard of OZ as "WHAT MOVIES SHOULD BE"!
July 23, 2015 Subject:
Oh MY Man Godfrey!!!
I love this movie. The screen was a little dark, but what can one expect with a black and white movie. Still enjoyed the show and would love to see more like this. Thanks for sharing this movie.
May 19, 2015 Subject:
My Man Godfrey
What is not to like? Never tire of watching this film.
May 11, 2015 Subject:
Better Than I Thought It Would Be
A wealthy family attends a raucous party. One of the night's entertainments is a scavenger hunt. There's one thing on the list that proves hardest to procure- a forgotten man.
Not even questioning the propriety of paying a homeless man five dollars to show up at their party, two sisters set out to be the first to bring back the coveted item. The younger sister actually gets the idea in her head that there is something "off" about this whole concept when she finally meets a real homeless person. The man's name is Godfrey, and through a series of events he ends up being hired as the family's butler.
He soon discovers that the family is crazy. They are bored, idle rich with no sense of propriety who amuse themselves any way they feel like. But then it is discovered that Godfrey may have a few secrets of his own.
You'll get very tired of "Irene" acting like a crazed 12-year-old, but other than that It's a good movie.
February 13, 2013 Subject:
I wanted to see more of Carole Lombard, was disappointed that it mostly ensemble piece.
January 1, 2011 Subject:
This movie defines the term "Screwball."
What can I add to what has already been said by the other reviewers?
The line I love the most is "Stand still Godfrey, It'll all be over in a minute."
This movie stays funny right to the end and is one of my all time favorites. 5 stars.
October 21, 2010 Subject:
Carole Lombard and William Powell star in this wonderful little film.
September 30, 2010 Subject:
I became a William Powell fan after seeing this movie. In her silliest moments in this movie, Carole Lombard is a little over the top (for me). When she tones it down, I really like her. But William Powell is sooo perfect. I thought he was attracted to her because of the way he keeps looking her up and down. But the interesting thing is Wikipedia says they made this move after they got divorced in real life! Anyhow, it's a keeper. I gave it 4 stars because of Carole Lombard's performance (see previous comments) but everyone is good here. Especially the protégée, Carlo. When he gets 'overcome' and goes and poses by the window, or puts his hand over his head, it cracks me up.
May 20, 2010 Subject:
My man William & my lady Carole
I first saw this in college in 1984 or so in a literature course on American lit of the thirties. We learned about the post-depression leftist movement. The highlight for me was this movie. Powell is so intensely unflappable that it doesn't matter that he's not a young, tall pretty boy. Lombard is ethereal and solid at the same time. Heroines in early film were given much more room to assert their desires and be rewarded for it.
April 13, 2010 Subject:
As they have told here:they don't make movies like this anymore.
For me-William Powell is one of the best actors of the 30 th.
By the way –In my collection «My Man Godfrey” is in color version and this is much better than in black/white,though, as I know, some people do not like colorization
January 22, 2010 Subject:
When you have great actors you have at least a good show. Kind of a pointless plot. Never did like society plots but it was cute. Lower end of four stars, say four minus.
Reviewer:Robert B. Livingston
January 7, 2010 Subject:
I've seen this one several times and it remains a favorite.
The film's nimble social commentary and humor stand the test of time.
September 4, 2009 Subject:
As fun as it gets and social commentary to boot. If you like screwball comedies then this is not to be missed. Great performances all around and a fun and engaging story line very effectively lampoons high society in contrast to the strife of the unemployed in 1930's America.
June 20, 2009 Subject:
A favorite movie!
I have watched this movie many times and I am always thoroughly entertained by it. They don't make them like this anymore. I wish that they did.
February 9, 2009 Subject:
godfrey is sexy
this movie was good,because of godfrey.
September 28, 2008 Subject:
I enjoyed this but...
Godfrey to the end was just too pliant for a Brit reviewer's liking.
Its good, its fun, so down load and add your comments.
Reviewer:The Keyboard Caper
August 4, 2008 Subject:
I am really pleased to see this movie. Great story, nice acting and direction. I enjoyed all the movie. The part when that man Carlos tries to mimic a monkey, jumping and hanging around, to make the girl laugh is hilarious. When Godfrey is accused, Mrs Bullock says imagine him wearing the pearl necklace, cracked me up. A great comedy altogether without any sexual content that you see in modern movies. And lots of advice, like : the only difference between a derelict and a man is a job. A must watch movie.
July 5, 2008 Subject:
Carole Lombard is surpassing Hepburn...
...as my favorite 'screwball comedy' actress. I haven't seen as many of Carole's films as I'd like - I'm glad I got to see this!
It is possible to be serious about helping human kind and be somewhat light hearted and entertaining! (See The Yes Men and Billionaires for Bush!)
Thanks to the filmmakers of the 30's who were able to entertain people, and still deliver a message of hope and morality! I'm sure they influenced me! Today, I'm an entertaining, but effective, activist! Yesterday, as the Statue of Liberty in the very red area of Orange County,the Huntington Beach Pier, I traded diatribes with the 'good ol' boys' beach crowd (who are growing up more fascist than ever, it seems!!!), while having my pic taken by every tourist, and with every kid on the pier! All the while tolding a two sided sign that said: "Peace Also Takes Courage", and " Democracy is not a Spectator Sport - DemocracyNow.Org".
I am still looking for 'My Man Godfrey'. If you're out there, look for the lady who sings at City Hall Meetings, who dances in glee amidst the fascists, who watches Carole and William Powell for inspiration!!!
June 6, 2008 Subject:
MPEG2 item will not download - gives invalid HTTP header. Also, how about enabling FTP restart for files over 2GB?
Great movie, though - wish I could dl it....
September 8, 2007 Subject:
I fell in love with this movie. It is asolutely impossible to find such gems of films nowadays. It is complex, funny, crazy, touching and throws in some meangful messages here and there. I loved the contrast between Godfrey and the rest of the house. They seemed nutcakes at first (and seemed to be the sterotypical rich-glitzy, trivial-it was obvious what Gofrey thought of them) but as the movie progressed we could witness the deeper levels of characters.. Of course, Godfrey felt to be the most believable. I loved how he handled himself among the people he grew to like and appreciate, as I did. A discerning, intelligent man, William Powell did a top notch job of portraying him. Cornelia is a very intersting character two and I place her after Godfrey as one of the more authentic. I had good impression of Mr Bullock too. Irene, an utter sweetheart- was just loveable and endearing, although did give me some headache with her dramatic gestures. Mrs Bullock was funny. There are also ther characters worth attention-the producers managed to create and incorporate a host of very interesting individuals, all of which may draw your attention in one way or another.
The story was very well-written and the roles were delievered fantastically, especially of course by Mr Powell I loved how the ending was not sappy or overly sentimental. Brilliant, utterly brilliant. Too bad I have problems downloading it-my internet keeps breaking off the connection. Ill keep trying, though, because this film seems to b a keeper, one that may enetertain me anytime I watch it.
See it and love it.
August 18, 2007 Subject:
Just an opinion!
Was truly impressed by the story. One of the best, thats for sure. The play was great too.
-256kb download worked well, about 230MB and full length as far as I know. But you should go for the larger one if you have a fast connection.
March 5, 2007 Subject:
Best movie ever
i can watch this over and over. william powell is the coolest actor in history. after watching this and the thin man, a girl might be ruined for men for good.
February 26, 2007 Subject:
Never hunt a man,
you might get seomthing you never exptected. Hillarious movie. The story is so weird that it is has to be cool and worth to watch over and over again. The b/w creates this special atmosphere and the artist play their role really good. The end... well see for yourself. I enjoyed this film, even if sometimes the sound is a little bit noisy (mostly at the hotel). Despite this a good and funny film.
October 27, 2006 Subject:
Solution to 5.7GB file downloading problem!
Harddrives using the File Allocation Table FAT32 can't handle files larger than 4GB. Convert your harddrives to NTFS.
August 16, 2006 Subject:
I enjoyed this movie and had no trouble downloading and playing the MPEG2 version (a full 5 and a half gigs)
August 6, 2006 Subject:
Classic comedy with a bit of a message thrown in for good measure. Another gem from IA and the person who ULd this.
August 5, 2006 Subject:
The CBC in canada from the early 70's to the mid nineties had a midnight movie program if I remember correctly called "stardust theatre" The bumper music was old jazz recordings and the graphics were art deco. They would run at least one movie every night and multiple movies on the weekends including serials "flash gordon" etc. All of the programming was from the 30's and 40's. I remeber watching this one a couple of times and it's every bit as delightful as it was when I was a kid. I can hardly believe it's some odd 70 years old now.
June 29, 2006 Subject:
Wonderful movie, problem MPEG2
I've always enjoyed this movie but was very disappointed in the MPEG2 download....unlike a previous reviewer I got 4.1GB, but, still not the entire 5.7GB movie. The MPEG1 is complete.
January 23, 2006 Subject:
Great movie, MPEG 2 doesn't work
This is a classic movie, however the mpeg-2 is listed as 5.7 gig, and downloads as 1.3. As a result, it's only about 22 minutes long. The mepg-1 works fine.
January 2, 2006 Subject:
My Man Godfrey
Carole Lombard and William Powell star in this classic comedy. This wonderful film is hilarious and timeless. A must-see.
October 29, 2005 Subject:
I love this movie. Smart laughs and a great theme.
October 28, 2005 Subject:
I can make this short, William Powell is at his best. I've bought this movie on DVD twice, and I don't normally buy that many films.
October 23, 2005 Subject:
I gave it 5 stars, beacuse that's the most you can give...
October 18, 2005 Subject:
we've watched a few of these movies now, and this is one of the best. some classic lines in here, and the movie quality is great.
One of my all-time faves, not least for Mischa Auer's character, Carlo, the pianist-protege. Won a supporting actor oscar, first time those were awarded I believe.
I first saw this on late-night broadcast TV out of NYC, in the pre-cable days. I hunted for it for years on video, but tor a long time it was not available--maybe that's why I treasure it so much.
IMHO, this is the quintessential screwball comedy. Absolutely the best.
October 3, 2005 Subject:
'Implausible' is the Word
I would hate to break the five-star rating streak this film has hitherto held, but on the other hand I see no reason why I would have to. This film is genuinely worthy of it. My last review, if anybody read it, was for Bluebeard. I reviewed it like literature rather than in terms of acting, cinematography, or other things I care nothing about. In Bluebeard, I found quite a lot of substance, whereas this film seems to be lacking. The reason is quite simple. Read King Lear, then read A Midsummer Night's Dream. You'll wonder why the latter play is considered one of Shakespeare's best after having read the former in all its glory. Comedies simply find their complexity in completely different ways than tragedies like Bluebeard.
Now as it turns out, My Man Godfrey is indeed a comedy. They call it a screwball comedy, which is fair enough. I would rather turn your attention to the Wildean aspects of this comedy. As a matter of fact, I would not hesitate to call this a (cheap) substitute for Wilde. Of course, it is by no means as excellent as Oscar Wilde's plays, but it approaches the same levels of implausibility. Godfrey is found in a scavenger hunt, for example. The implausibility must just be taken as part of the surrealness of the world, without which most of the events of the film would be impossible.
On account of this aspect of comedy, for better or for worse, the themes involved are simple and take very little (scavenger) hunting to discover. The obvious is freedom. The Bullock family has enormous freedom to do as they wish, which they take full advantage of, to the dismay of Mr. Bullock. Godfrey, on the other hand, whose name means "God's Freedom," purposely shackles himself to this family in a slave-like position, whom they take full advantage of. The irony is, by the end of the film, their states have collapsed into each others: the Bullocks (particularly Mr. Bullock) appear to be less free than Godfrey, trapped by their money and selfishness. For example, Mrs. Bullock is ever drunk.
Another obvious theme, probably the most obvious one, is that of money as a cause of suffering. Godfrey is exemplar. The social stratefication it induces is revealed through the scenes at the dump. Mr. Bullock's troubles are all tied into his concerns regarding money and his family's irresponsible usage of it.
These are themes, and there are probably a few others. What is really worthwhile about this film is the usage of the characters. They're interesting studies, to say the least. Carlo is a sensuous character, always eating, and paradoxically also very poetic and sensITIVE. One thing to look for with Carlo is that, as the film progresses, you'll see him gradually eating more and more often, until he tries to eat while singing at the piano! He represents all the appetitive aspects of the family, for which reason you'll notice everything smooths out the moment he's gone, even though his leaving cannot be said to CAUSE anything to happen--nobody even noticed, except his 'mentor,' and she's ever drunk. For any A Midsummer Night's Dream fans, Carlo is kind of the Nick Bottom of the film: the butt of many jokes; always takes himself seriously; outrageous and foppish; arrogant and sensuous. Had this man had an ass's head, I daresay he wouldn't have noticed any more than Bottom did. In a strange way, he's the greatest character in the film.
Cornelia is interesting, since she's, next to Godfrey, or maybe even excelling Godfrey, the most authentic character in the film. She's 'evil', you might think, and it's true, she's a naughty lady! However, she hides nothing. She's all sincerity. She rarely if ever says a word she doesn't mean or does an action betraying what she really thinks. She does do deceitful things, there's no question, yet I think you'll see for yourself after watching the film, that she's really free from deceiving herself at least, and that is something few if any other characters in this film could claim. Such a state flourishes at the end into a bit of a touching moment.
I'll leave you to discover the richness in the other characters. It's not their consciousness that makes them valuable; a rich consciousness is easy, and Godfrey has it. It's rather the superlatively rich subconsciousness each of these characters possess, save Godfrey. Irene is perhaps the most so.
There is just one thing I must warn you of prior to going into it, and that is some moments, towards the end, of terrible dialogue. I say 'terrible,' but it's only terrible because we've seen it countless times since the 1930's; it may have been fresh then. I'm sure you'll be cringing as I was when you hear Godfrey say, "There comes a turning point in every man's life..." or when he starts telling characters what they've 'taught' him about life. That is where it departs from Wilde, true comedy, and ultimately where the film fails, since it lacked the courage to persevere as what it was. These scenes are short, on the other hand, so don't let them get to you much.
October 1, 2005 Subject:
Good Clean Fun
I really liked it. Good fun movie. Highly recommend for everyone.
September 6, 2005 Subject:
Great film - but what about the rights?
There's no specific mention of the copyright status of this film. Is it in the public domain?
August 11, 2005 Subject:
I couldn't believe it wasn't a Frank Capra film.
This film is as good as it gets before the golden year in Hollywood of 1939. Frank Capra did a string of films between 1933 & 1939 that all had the same sort of Lady for a Day, It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, You Can't Take It with You, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington that all have the same sort of story whereby the who is down on his luck eventually comes out on top because of their inherent kindness, and care for other people in general.
This film fits right into that tradition, and stands up well against films, all of them classics. When I first watched it I genuinely thought it was one of his.
William Powell is William Powell, imbued with the same sarcastic spirit of all of the Thin Man films. The family that adopts Powell is just as dysfunctional as Katharine Hepburnin the film Holiday, and the father, Eugene Pallette, has the fine idiosyncrasies of the best character actors of the period, Ned Sparks and Edward Everett Horton.
This, film, along with the aforementioned films Lady for a Day, You Can Take It with You, and Holiday is one of the greatest films that nobody ever heard of. It's entertaining, it's funny, it has wild twists and turns you won't expect, and when finish watching you feel like you want to go out and help somebody who is down on their luck.
August 8, 2005 Subject:
"Can you buttle?"
My Man Godfrey falls squarely within the screwball genre, yet stands solidly outside it, beyond it.
Let's be honest with ourselves and admit that screwball comedies in the tradition of Bringing Up Baby are just stupid. They revolve around farcical, irrational characters that don't satirically illuminate anything about humanity so much as they vex, nettle, annoy, and loathesomely make themselves unwatchable. I know you're supposed to hate Katharine Hepburn's character in Bringing Up Baby, but she's so detestable that she's not funny.
Comedy, unless it's pure satire, has to have some central heart to make it work. You have to like somebody in the movie, even if you hate all the rest. In My Man Godfrey, that central heart is provided by the unconditionally good and good-hearted butler character (Godfrey, the "my man" of the title) played by William Powell. Though the family is in a ludicrous shambles, his rationality serves as an anchor for the film and helps to explain the screwballishness. This isn't a screwball comedy just for the sake of being one, this is a comedy with screwball characters in it, and the reason they act that way is because they're spoiled rich people with no grip on reality. So reality isn't absent from the film, it's only absent from some of its characters for believable reasons.
This all adds up to a film that is funny, but also very self-aware. It can make wry comments on the state of the human condition because it doesn't operate on an idiotic plane completely divorced from it. As I said, William Powell's butler character anchors the film and keeps its jokes legitimately funny. This is the kind of humor in Singin' in the Rain - silly and wacky, perhaps, but always aware of its own silliness and careful to not let them veer out of control.
But enough about all that theory. This movie really is funny, and it has characterizations and plot that immediately draw you in and actually develop. There are no static characters here; they all take some sort of journey that illuminates who they really are, and this helps the viewer relate to them amid the jokes. Oops, I guess I slipped back into theory again.
Never mind all that, really. Just watch this film and laugh and be curiously uplifted. Alexander Bullock (the patriarch of the household, and perhaps the only other rational character) asks Godfrey why he wants to be a butler. As Godfrey explains, "I want to be a good butler; and to be a butler for the Bullocks, one has to be a good butler." This film similarly rises to the top of the screwball comedy heap and is essential viewing on this site.
July 13, 2005 Subject:
Watch it again and again....
This is one of those early comodies that sparkeled in the 30's. Memorable films such as Topper and It Happened One Night are in the same class as this Powell/Lombard film. The script is tight and witty. This is truly one of those treasures that endure. Download it and watch it again and again on occasion when you want to lift your spirits.
Reviewer:dog from Nightwatch
July 13, 2005 Subject:
A trully funny movie.
A fine cast with a clever plot make this one of my favorite comedies. Well worth the time downloading & sharing with friends and family.
This "print" is very good too, well worth saving for your library.